KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – 2008 Olympian Chris Colwill (Brandon, Fla./Athens, Ga.) came out on top in a close men’s 3-meter contest, and Laura Ryan (Elk River, Minn./Bloomington, Ind.) and Amy Cozad (Indianapolis, Ind./Bloomington, Ind.) won gold in the women’s synchronized 10-meter to secure spots on the FINA World Cup team Monday at the USA Diving Winter National Championships.
Kristian Ipsen (Clayton, Calif./Stanford, Calif.) also earned a World Cup berth on 3-meter after finishing just behind Colwill in the 3-meter contest.
Colwill edged Ipsen by just two-tenths of a point, scoring 1516.75 points over three lists of dives. He took a 15.90 point lead into the finals and maintained the advantage through four rounds, but Ipsen closed the gap and overtook Colwill by eight-tenths with just one round to go. Colwill regained his lead with 92.75 points on his final dive, a reverse 3 ½ tuck.
“It was a little nerve-wracking. I was a little more aggressive in the prelims and started to get a little more cautious at the end, but I finished my last two dives strong,” Colwill said. “There’s no doubt there are a lot of great athletes in this event, and it’s gotten a lot tougher the last two years. I’m so glad I could be involved in the thrill of this competition.”
Ipsen earned at least one mark of 9.0 or higher on each of his six dives in the finals, including a 10 and five 9.5s on his front 3 ½ pike in round two. He scored 80-plus points on all six dives.
“This was the most exciting competition I’ve ever been in. Usually in a three-list format, there’s some separation, but everyone was really close the entire time. Even the prelims felt like a final,” Ipsen said. “This is definitely good preparation for the World Cup.”
Drew Livingston (The Woodlands, Texas/Austin, Texas) finished third with 1505.90 points. He scored 90 or more points on three of his dives in the finals, including 99.75 points on his front 4 ½ tuck in the last round. Three-time Olympian Troy Dumais (Ventura, Calif./Austin, Texas) took fourth at 1451.15, 2004 Olympian Justin Dumais (Ventura, Calif./Orlando, Fla.) was fifth, and 2008 Olympic platform diver Thomas Finchum (Indianapolis, Ind.) finished sixth.
Cozad and Ryan won their third national title together, scoring 632.70 points on two lists of dives to beat the 2008 Olympic team of Mary Beth Dunnichay (Elwood, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) and Haley Ishimatsu (Seal Beach, Calif.), who took second at 626.58. Jessica Parratto (Dover, N.H./Indianapolis, Ind.) and Anna James (Midland, Texas) were third with 609.66 points.
“I’m very excited. We took it one dive at a time and just did what we do in practice,” Ryan said. “We just keep pushing and moving forward.”
The title was Cozad’s fourth. She and Ryan won at the 2010 USA Diving Winter National Championships and the 2010 AT&T National Diving Championships. With Ryan doing a new back twister, Cozad teamed with Amy Korthauer at the 2011 AT&T Nationals, which they won. Cozad has since learned the back 2 ½ with 1 ½ twists as well, putting her back together with Ryan.
The back twister was their final dive of the competition, and they scored 80.64 points on it to secure the victory.
“I was really nervous before my back twister, but I just focused on what (coach Jeff) Huber told me to do, and it worked out well,” Cozad said.
The USA Diving Winter National Championships and World Cup Trials run through Thursday, December 22. Tuesday’s competition features men’s synchronized 10-meter preliminaries at 10 a.m., women’s 3-meter quarterfinals at 1 p.m., men’s 1-meter semifinals at 4 p.m., and men’s synchronized 10-meter finals at 7 p.m.